The United Arab Emirates (UAE) revealed intentions to conduct an ambitious expedition to an asteroid belt by 2028 today (Oct. 5). It will be the UAE’s second interplanetary mission; the first, the Emirates Mars Mission, sent an orbiter named “Hope” to Mars in July 2020. Hope is still actively functional, and the upcoming asteroid expedition will build on its accomplishments, according to UAE authorities.
“Our aim is clear: to stimulate the growth of creativity and knowledge-based companies in the Emirates,” said the chair of the UAE Space Agency, Sarah Al Amiri, in an email today. “This cannot be accomplished by remaining stagnant; it takes leaps in vision, belief, and the pursuing of missions,” Al Amiri stated. “We began on the Emirates Mars Mission (EMM), a 6-year endeavor that was 5 times more sophisticated and difficult than the Earth-observation satellites we were constructing.”
If all goes as planned, the asteroid expedition, the name of which has yet to be disclosed, would launch at a later date. It will travel past Earth and Venus in 2029 and 2028, respectively, before reaching the asteroid belt between Jupiter and Mars in 2030. Throughout the course of its journey, the probe will investigate seven distinct asteroids up close, culminating in a landing on an asteroid in 2033. The UAE will collaborate on the asteroid expedition with Boulder’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado, which is also a major collaborator on the Hope Mars mission. According to UAE authorities, the research aims of the asteroid expedition, as well as the equipment it will carry, will be disclosed in mid-2022.
The asteroid mission is a component of the UAE’s deliberate venture into space, which includes the anticipated delivery of the Rashid moon rover to the surface of the moon in 2022. The country believes that such initiatives would assist to develop a technological interest among its citizens as well as improve and diversify its economy, which has traditionally been largely reliant on oil exports. “Today, we are engaged in future generations,” stated Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president & prime minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, one of the nation’s 7 emirates, in the same announcement. “With each new step forward in space, we generate chances for young individuals on Earth.”